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Rules For Your First Week of Work

It might take about three months to feel like you've got the hang of your job responsibilities, but the first week is when you make your first (and lasting) impression and begin making new office friends. US News published a list of "42 Rules For Your First Week," and I've chosen five, one for each work day, that I think are most important and why.

  • Show up on time. This is especially important on day one because someone else is likely working you into her schedule. The person who shows you around and gets you situated has her own job to do, too.
  • Remember coworkers' names. Even if you're not out to make work friends, it's crucial that you remember the names of colleagues in order to begin establishing a respectful rapport.

There are three more rules so just


  • Assume the training will help you do your job. Training can be terribly boring, particularly if you tend to learn better through hands-on experiences, but approach any training processes with the mentality that you'll get something out of it. You're likely to take away at least a couple of pointers, and it's a great opportunity to ask questions before being thrown into your daily grind.
  • Observe first—then speak. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and nervous when beginning a new job, so to stop those nerves from making you say something that isn't the smartest, step back before you step in.
  • Ask for work. Be proactive from the start and keep yourself busy to show what kind of worker you are, which is particularly important during your first weeks when opinions are being formed about you.


Join The Conversation
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
How about what NOT to do? A new girl just started here a couple weeks ago and within her first week she: 1) Demanded (not asked, DEMANDED) the department secretary make her a name-plate for her desk (keep in mind this girl is not even a PERMANENT employee 2) Talked back to and contradicted our very scary boss and immediately got put in her place 3) Refused to take part in a company-wide charity walk that our entire department was doing and then didn't show up that day for work because of "dishwasher" problems 4) Showed up 10 minutes late everyday 5) Complained when a stack of papers she was responsible landed on her desk, muttering, "Great, even MORE work for me to do." Um, isn't that what you're here for?
sanriano sanriano 9 years
these tips came at a right time as i will also be starting work in a few weeks w00h00!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I'm lucky since I can pick up people's names really fast. You have to make a good first impression so no one looks at you as the slacker for the rest of your career. PS You are never learning on the job stuff in training unless you have a really specific job function. You are just sitting there d getting to know everyone else.
nancita nancita 9 years
Great tips, Savvy. I must say, it is really impressive when new hires can quickly learn people's names. It's such a little thing but it goes a long way.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
"ask for work" is definitely a great suggestion - especially if you're in an entry-level position and want to quickly work your way up. It's really fun watching your HR person furrow their brow and say, you've been here HOW long? as they're processing your promotion paperwork ;-) the tip regarding political views is a delicate balance - DISCUSSING events is one thing: it's a good way to show that you're informed, you pay attention. But sounding off on what you think of them is probably not a good idea. A casual conversation can turn to throwing flames really fast!
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
i think "ask for work" is a great suggestion. i interned for a company way back, and kept asking my boss for more work to do... a mutual acquaintance later told me that they were very impressed by this, and they eventually offered me a full-time position.
Beauty Beauty 9 years
Yeah, I am always amazed when new hires are on Facebook or whatever. Down the line, if you have downtime, whatever. But first impressions like that are hard to shake.
citizenkane citizenkane 9 years
Great tip, kcwebgirl! I just hired someone about a month ago, and her FIRST day she got on her myspace page. I was shocked. Its not like we are slammed all day every day (I was training her for a receptionist position) but still, not on your first day, honey...
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
"Show up on time. This is especially important on day one because someone else is likely working you into her schedule. The person who shows you around and gets you situated has her own job to do, too" I would think this should be something you'd do long after your first week. If only the other ladies in the office felt the same way. :(
MindayH MindayH 9 years
Get some sleep, if you are in training sessions you don't want to yawn or look like you might start snoozing at any second
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 9 years
don't surf the net your first week unless it relates directly to your job. people are impressed that i know so much about my industry but it's because i frequent important sites and pass those on to others. and definitely ask for work once you get finished but don't make others look bad if you can finish projects before them!
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
People are trained in a formal setting - which jobs are those. I was throw in and either I sink or swim. Lucky devils.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
I do all of this and more just so I am a) not bored, and b) it allows me to become much more familiar with the place, the people, and things I may be doing along the way.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
LOL Syako!!! Good tips.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Good one, syako! And these are good tips since I'm starting a new job in a few weeks.
syako syako 9 years
I've got one!! Don't play on TeamSugar all day! :P pot calling the kettle black!
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